EEF publishes independent evaluations of Switch-On and Foreign Language Learning

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published independent evaluations today, both funded to add to the evidence base of ‘what works’ when it comes to teaching and learning.

In Switch-on, delivered by Nottinghamshire County Council, teaching assistants were trained to deliver an intensive one-to-one literacy intervention for pupils struggling to read. The 10-week programme was made up of short reading sessions that aimed to support the pupils to become more confident and independent in their reading ability.

An earlier and smaller EEF-funded trial of Switch-on involving 19 schools showed that it delivered an average of 3 months’ of additional progress for pupils struggling to read at the transition between primary and secondary school. The EEF funded this bigger trial to find out if these positive results could be repeated at a larger scale in 184 schools across the country.

The independent evaluators from National Centre for Social Research found that the children who received the Switch-on intervention in this larger trial made no more progress than the children in the ‘business as usual’ control group. The difference in results between the trials could be because the training model was altered so the programme could be run in a large number of schools nationally.

The EEF will now discuss with the Switch-on team options for developing and testing an alternative model for scaling the intervention that can be delivered in many schools, but with the same positive effects of the smaller trial.

On our blog today, Emily Yeomans explores why re-granting and re-testing is important and how we can respond to results that challenge previous findings.

Also published today are the results of an evaluation of Foreign Language Learning. This is an approach to teaching French with a linked English literacy curriculum developed by the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT). It builds on evidence that learning a foreign language can help to develop general literacy skills. The EEF funded a trial of this programme in 46 schools to find out whether it would be a particularly effective way to use the new foreign language requirement to also deliver improvements in English.

The independent evaluators from UCL Institute of Education found no evidence that FLL had a positive impact on English outcomes over and above the impact of normal foreign language provision. However, the results have low security because of issues collecting data from some of the participating schools.